Wednesday, December 08, 2010

School Choice: Divides & Conquers Neighbors

  
Greece Central School District's Options 
Pits The "Haves" Against The "Have Nots"

For the current year, 184 students were accepted into Greece's secondary option, while more than 1,500 students remained on the waiting list. For signature schools, 223 were accepted and 562 remained on the waiting lists. The reporter failed to report the figures for the large numbers who remain on wait lists specifically for entry into schools-of-choice, also called lottery schools.

"This goes to the core of one of the problems in our town. It's huge when you have kids on one street going to four different high schools and four different elementary schools. Parents don't know each other, the kids don't know each other and I think that has contributed to the breakup of our neighborhoods." ~~ former school board member Charlie Hubbard

TO COMMENT ON SCHOOL CHOICE BY EMAIL TO GCSD, SEND YOUR COMMENTS TO: community.information@greece.k12.ny.us
  

Anonymous said...
The media at channel 13 are already planning interviews at the schools of choice. One today planned for the chorus at pinebrook. The parents had to get their kids there ahead of the regular chorus time in "dresses if possible". If they weren't able to get there ahead of 8 am they were told they "wouldn't be included in the news" braodcast.What are they trying to prove?   12/08/2010 8:44 AM

SCATS ~~ Ah yes! The ole "good press" before the hailstorm of negativity that will be unleashed at tomorrow night's phony 'forum' ;)


65 comments:

Anonymous said...

One other probelm in this town is that Hubbard kid is not on the school board. Common sense is needed now more than ever!

RUN HUBARD! RUN!!

SCATS said...

Received in email:

Dear Greece School Board Members,

A review and examination of the current structure of the Greece Central School District is of great importance and long overdue.

The forum set for Thursday evening and the committee set up to evaluate the efficacy of the current system are excellent methods to begin the discussion.

Since I will be unable to attend the forum on Thursday, I would like to offer some thoughts on the matter of district structure. It is important that you be aware that I am the parent of a student who attends one of Greece's Schools of Choice, and that I believe my child is getting a very good education.

The decision to be made here is can and will the district continue to offer choice to the community. Schools of Choice, Open Enrollment to Signature Schools and Secondary Option are linked and can only continue as a group.

The arguments I hear most, against Schools of Choice, revolve around transportation costs and the fear that the lottery system is "rigged" for some "chosen few."

(continued ...)

SCATS said...

(Continued ...)

Transportation costs are a serious concern, especially in a district and economy where people have had to do more with less for more years than I'd like to admit. The transportation study from last year was woefully inadequate. It provided no useful information or comparison to costs incurred because of Schools of Choice or the savings which could be realized if a change was made. There was a discussion of the overall cost of transporting students outside of the home school zone. This included Schools of Choice, Signature Schools, and transportation of students to child care locations other than their home address.
A district the size of Greece, with a competent and talented staff, should be able to provide an internal estimate of transportation costs for multiple options. In order to evaluate the true cost of transportation, the district should prepare an estimate of costs for three different scenarios: first, all students being picked up/dropped off at home and transported to their home school; second, incorporate transportation to child care providers, and finally costs associated with transportation as the district is currently structured. By using existing data for the 2010-2011 school year as the model for these estimates, I can't imagine that it would be overly costly or time consuming. Having these estimates and being able to refer to the costs of each option, would greatly enhance any discussion on transportation.

The issues surrounding the selection of students can be easily addressed. Immediately release the details of the process by which students are selected for Schools of Choice. Be open about the process and hold the selection in an open meeting format. The district must actively demonstrate that the process is open and does not offer favor to any group or individual.

Having a complete and verifiable estimate of transportation costs and the details of the process by which students are enrolled in Schools of Choice is imperative to any discussion on the structure of the district. While there will be supporters on both sides, you need data to consider when making any decisions.

I also urge you to listen to all sides of the debate. There is information and ideas to be gleaned from the supporters of both camps.

I have listened to people debate this topic for years. Supporters of Schools of Choice clearly believe that their children thrive in the environment that these schools provide. Opponents often cite cost concerns and some inherent inequality as the reasons for redesigning the structure of the district. I have yet to hear an opponent of the current system suggest that neighborhood schools would educate our children better. Perhaps what is needed is to take the Schools of Choice model and extend it to all schools.

Here are some suggestions for district structure:
K-5 in one building, versus the current K-2, 3-5 model.
A renewed and enhanced focus on education over sports and extra-curricular activities.
An open and interactive discussion with the Board of Education.

This is an opportunity for the community to define itself and the Board of Education to take the reigns and lead this district into the future. It should also be noted that decisions on the future of the district can not wait. You must determine what the future should look like and implement a plan to get there as soon as possible.
There needs to be a plan. We, as a community, need to know what the plan is. And we need to feel like we had a hand in its creation.

I urge you to stand up, take a position and defend it. The community can and will rally around a group who is willing to make a decision, define it, support it, and plan for implementation.
Sincerely,
A Greece CSD Parent

SCATS said...

To GreeceCSDparent ~~ You wrote a fairly well thought out letter on the issue. I agree the lottery MUST BE DONE IN THE OPEN! It's ridiculous that it isn't.

On the one hand, you stated, "Schools of Choice, Open Enrollment to Signature Schools and Secondary Option are linked and can only continue as a group" but then you failed to show why you believe that to be the case. While they may be linked, I do not buy your contention that Secondary Option can't exist in some form without schools-of-choice like Pinebrook or West Ridge, as one example.

On the other hand, you failed to even mention that unless/until it's shown that the option your child enjoys provides some educational benefit to the ENTIRE SCHOOL DISTRICT, then it is not something the masses should have to foot the bill for when their kids are sitting on HUGE wait lists.

Another idea is to make both Pinebrook and West Ridge into K-2, 3-5 paired schools like most others in the district. But then that detracts from the real reason these schools are so popular: CONVENIENCE!!

Anonymous said...

to 11;35 parent.
The article talked about the reason starting the schools of choice was to eliminate the need for boundry changes.
Those days are now gone so I must ask why the justification to continue should not fall onto the district. I am not understanding why the amount $$ is the key issue.

SCATS said...

To 11:55AM ~~ Not only is the need for a buffer for boundary issues a thing of the past, but with the loss in enrollments of some 2000+ students, we MUST CLOSE 2-3 SCHOOLS ASAP! It's costing us a bundle to keep all of this going just to provide a private school feel for the few.

Anonymous said...

Scats @ 11:50
I guess I stated it a little less than artful.
I don't necessarily think that SOC, Signature Schools, or Secondary Option should be continued.
They are however linked. The reasons for doing away with one would necessitate doing away with all of them.
If there is no advantage to SOC, then Signature Schools and secondary option would face the same end.

Greece CSD Parent

Anonymous said...

I just read a blurb on the Greece Post.
The forum tomorrow will not be a two-way dialogue.

Why not?
I have yet to hear anyone from the board address anything related to this topic. Why do they refuse to engage in an open dialogue on the issues?
Why bother having this forum?
Another complete waste of time!

SCATS said...

To 1:51PM ~~ That's why I call it the "phony forum" ... forum means discussion, as I noted on an earlier BLOG titled "School Choice 'Forum' Rules Stifle Input."

Let's face it, this BOE is at least as much of a waste of time as any in the last 10 yrs. Oberg's performance has been beyond disappointing.

To Greece CSD Parent ~~ My point is that the three weren't instituted together, so there's really no basis for saying one can't exist without the other. West Ridge came along first, then secondary option and much later Walts created "Signature Schools." Schools-of-choice don't require either of the other two.

Anonymous said...

If you don't stand for something you'll fall for everything

Anonymous said...

Discussion would be extremely threatening to our dysfunctional school board. They can't handle complaints, criticism, debate or anything else requiring an intelligent response. Thursday night is just one more school of choiced dog and pony show for the media. Pinebrook geared up today.

Anonymous said...

The reason no one at Central Office or the head of Transportation can come up with any meaningful cost comparisons is because the fox is guarding the hen house. District Office and the head of Transportation do not want to have to deal with the union and potential layoffs if the real cost figures come out regarding the real cost of transporting kids all over east jesus. I suspect this cost is in the muli-millions of dollars. The community and the School Board in particular will never have the correct info until they contract this cost analaysis out to a disinterested 3rd party. I have watched this happen over and over again for 30 years. It does not matter if the study is about contracting out our Payroll Dept, Transportation Dept, Purchasing Dept, Print Shop and on and on and on. The educational system is all about self preservation folks! They will find a way to justify the spending. No committee will ever get to the bottom of the real costs. EVER.........

SCATS said...

To 5:38PM ~~ Of course, you are 100% correct. Not only is the fox guarding the hen house, but he likes eggs for breakfast, wings for lunch and stuffed bird for dinner.

Charlie Hubbard said...

Scats, I have not been able to figure out what the 'purpose' of the meeting is?
Are we saying the board and administration are not aware or just became aware that there may be an issue?
The idea an honest figure of the added transportation costs speaks volumns.
The educational benefits of all of these programs will be available at the meeting - right?

The spitting on the vote issue will not allow my presents but I hope good attendance happens.
Most of all i hope some 'honest' dialoge will take place. Unfortunatly this issue has been nothing but one lie after another for years. ALOT of taxpayers $$ have been wasted for years.

The bottom line is money coming from the state is going to get even tougher. The teacher retirement system alone is in all likelyhood going to eat up any increase in state-aid we would have gotten. This will put a heavier burden on local taxpayers.
Choices will need to be made like never before as to 'where' money will be spent.

More than any of the above all things always go back to one word -*** TRUST ***

Anonymous said...

Scats,

My point in the linking of the three is that arguments against Schools of Choice are exactly the same as arguments against Secondary Option and Signature Schools.
1. Transportation Costs
2. Splitting of neighborhoods
3. Possibility of impropriety in deciding which students go to which schools.

While they may not have been implemented at the same time or for the same reasons or by the same people, I think they are linked by their net effect on the district.

Are there any arguments against Schools of Choice that do not also hold true for the other two?

Greece CSD Parent

Anonymous said...

Add this item to the growing reasons as to why we can not find a Super. Any applicant can see the disfunction and looks elsewhere. THE BOE is running our district into the ground.

Anonymous said...

Imagine the blowback if the district tries to close Odyssey, one of the top 3-4 high schools schools in the entire county, and one of the top 100 or so schools in the US.

Good luck with that.

SCATS said...

To 9:13AM ~~ You need to get your facts straight! Odyssey is NOT one of the top 3-4 high schools in the country, not even close to that! Odyssey has fallen onto the Top 100 list a few times, but I don't believe it's been a consistent performance.

Anonymous said...

Top 3-4 in the "county". Monroe County. The only other schools that are in this peer group are Brighton, Pittsford and occasionally W. Irondequoit.

And since there are over 30,000 high schools in the US, even if they are in the top 300 and not top 100, they are still top 1%.

Again, the point is the PR from even publicly thinking about touching Odyssey would be a nightmare and again point to Greece as the town that can't do anything right. Sure, let's stop the one thing going well so we can be just generally lousy in everything.

Anonymous said...

I second that RUN, BOTH OF YOU HUBBARDS RUN"

Anonymous said...

Dialogues often force people into representing or espousing positions. I much prefer being listened to without response. Instead of formulating his next words, the listener can concentrate on my opinions, and I may make inroads into his thinking.

Anonymous said...

When your allowed to pick and chose who attends your school, then give those "chosen few" a smaller setting without the distractions of the "unchosen many", guess what, it's not very hard to get good or even great results. Unfortunatly, those practices are supposed to only be used by private schools, not public!

SCATS said...

To 10:34AM ~~ My apologies for misreading "county" as "country."

Re: "Top 3-4 in the "county". Monroe County. The only other schools that are in this peer group are Brighton, Pittsford and occasionally W. Irondequoit."

Apparently, we're not supposed to worry about how Odyssey ranks, according to Principal Sue Meier who stated: "We buy the little plaque that says the number (we ranked) and really don't do much else with it ... We're not really competing for that ranking. That's not what we're going for. We're going for kids to be prepared for college or whatever the next step is."

It seems to me we can attain her goal throughout Greece, and without Odyssey remaining as it is now.

Re: "And since there are over 30,000 high schools in the US, even if they are in the top 300 and not top 100, they are still top 1%."

According to Newsweek who did the ranking, your "facts" are wrong again. They claim: "Just over 1,600schools — only 6 percent of all the public schools in the U.S.—made the list."

Re: "... the point is the PR from even publicly thinking about touching Odyssey would be a nightmare and again point to Greece as the town that can't do anything right.

Where is your concern over the bad PR we get for having two of the lowest ranking high schools in the entire county??? Where is your concern over the fact we have voted down a budget in some damn hard economic times, but the taxpayers are expected to foot the bill for the extra $7-10K it takes to retain Odyssey in the IB program each year, not including the costs to train teachers, transport all over town, etc?? Where is your concern that NOTHING GOOD from any of the 3 schools-of-choice has been SHARED with the other district schools in the last 20 years to bring equity?? Where is your concern that Greece Central was deemed an "educational blackhole" in a discussion on craigslist?? Where is your concern that there is NO EDUCATIONAL BENEFIT DERIVED FROM HAVING SCHOOLS-OF-CHOICE by GCSD's District Office??

Let me guess ... YOUR KID WON THE LOTTERY AND YOU DON'T GIVE-A-DAMN about anyone else ;)

If you want a Brighton or Pittsford experience, MOVE TO BRIGHTON OR PITTSFORD."

(That's what I hear all of the time ... if I don't like Greece, just move ;)

Anonymous said...

@11:32
A one way "listening" session is more productive than an active two-way dialog? Seriously?
I am sure it will take about 5 minutes for the "listeners" to begin falling asleep, or thinking about what color drapes they should buy at JC Penney.
An active dialog keeps all parties involved and helps to generate new ideas that neither party may have been predisposed to agree with. Solutions are developed through discussion and compromise. How can one compromise when one party does not have to put forth any ideas or opinions?

SCATS said...

To 11:32AM ~~ If you want to be listened to without response, talk to the wall in your office. That is exactly what you get when trying to get the BOE or Town Board in Greece to discuss anything of importance ... silence ... not even a blink. They stifle ALL discussion, ALL of the time. There has been no true discussion (just phony "forums")with the Greece school board that I'm aware of in the last 15 years.

SCATS said...

To 12:53PM ~~ Not to worry! You won't get to have your nap. They limited the "input" to 3 minutes ;)

Does anyone else think it odd that a SCHOOL DISTRICT continually mislabels these events as "forums?"

Does anyone else think it's odd that supposedly intelligent and involved parents and educational professionals would want to stifle discussion on such important topics?

Does anyone else think it odd that the adults are choosing to model this one-sided behavior to our children as an example of how to resolve problems?

No wonder the kids have problems with discipline!! Look at these prime and very public examples!!

Anonymous said...

I have a vision: next year's school board candidates include Hubbard, Miller, and Hubbard.

Is that a vision or a fantasy?

Anonymous said...

As a parent - If my option was to send my son or daughter to Apollo or Olympia - where there is an over abundence of behavior problem students and a significant number of students that do not give a darn about an education (because they come from families that do not value education)- or to explore schools of choice or secondary options, of course I'm going to try and get my child into a better learning environment!

Don't get me wrong - the teachers try their best, but when each class has at least 4 or 5 kids in it that are there for nothing else but to do what ever THEY want, have no concept of respect, etc. - you have a undesireable learning environment.

If the district would wake up and create a system where kids that do nothing but disrupt the learning process get shipped out to some sort of alternative school - then I'm sure you would see behavior improve, test scores increase and the need and desire for schools of choice decrease.

Sometimes we make things so complicated just because we don't want to do what needs to be done.

SCATS said...

To 1:05PM ~~ It depends ... what did you eat & drink for lunch?? If it was spicy Mexican drowned with a couple Dos Equis, then it's a vision. If you had a liquid lunch of 2-3 scotch on the rocks, it was a fantasy. If your lunch was "free or reduced" then your parents need to run for school board and serve 3 years as unpaid mandatory volunteers.

To 1:06PM ~~ Your final sentence leaves MUCH unsaid! "Sometimes we make things so complicated just because we don't want to do what needs to be done."

You are essentially admitting that you don't give a damn about the other schools so long as your kid wins the lottery. Not only is that position arrogant & selfish, but it's completely misguided. Sooner or later, those same problems WILL creep into Odyssey and Pinebrook and W Ridge. Sooner or later, you will realize you are footing a HUGE TAX BILL for a less than mediocre school district. Sooner or later YOU WILL REALIZE how YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM, since you certainly aren't part of the solution.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me who, or where I can find out who are members of this "committee"?

SCATS said...

To 4:38PM ~~ Good question! If you find out, please share.

Anonymous said...

Scats why the "shaming" of those that get reduced lunch. It is very helpful to many hard working parents. And yes I know that there are the non workers too.

If I misunderstood the comment I am sorry.

SCATS said...

To 6:21PM ~~ Having parents run for BOE is considered "shaming"? All I ever hear is that the kids who get free/reduced lunches in Greece are responsible for all of the district's ills ... aside from the parents of the discipline problems who don't do their parenting duties ...

I was attempting a bit of a lighter mood ... I'll keep practicing my humor until I perfect it ;)

Anonymous said...

Anyone on the school board attend? District office? The super? Was it recorded?

Anonymous said...

According to Newsweek who did the ranking, your "facts" are wrong again. They claim: "Just over 1,600schools — only 6 percent of all the public schools in the U.S.—made the list."

Uh, SCATS, that means there are 1600/.06 = 26,666 public schools. So 30,000 was a pretty good number.

And did you see on the news tonight that Greece Central takes reduced lunch into account when scheduling snow days because they are worried that those kids won't get a meal if they stay home? Are we in the education or food service business?

Anonymous said...

6;21 the reduced lunch has become the latest excuss being used by administration and the unions.

SCATS said...

To 7:57PM ~~ I saw on the news that Oberg was there. It appeared that few attended. The Supt. was dusted off & propped in front of a camera in his office to show us the lights in DO are on, despite his ongoing illness. He attended the forum, too.

To 8:47PM ~~ My problem was with your claim that Odyssey is in the top 1%, but nice try ;) As you quoted, it's in the top 6%. As for your other question, we seem to be in the athletics, bussing & dining business ... or entertainment as some might call it.

To 9:08PM ~~ Indeed it has!

Anonymous said...

I respect everyone's opinions here. I don't usually comment but just read to see what people are thinking. The truth is that the free and reduce lunching does matter. Can we use that as an excuse- absolutely not. But, it does matter. Look at the research on how poverty effects education. It is a huge concern. We can't just ignore it and say teachers should just teach like teachers taught back in the day when Greece was a great place to live. The population has changed and the teaching needs to change. There is no reason for excuses or to pretend that everything is ok and poverty doesn't effect education. It absolutely effects these children and changes the way that we have to teach (yes, I am a teacher). It is heart-breaking to hear of the way that some of these children live. I teach in Greece, I care about my students, I work at home, I come in early, I work through the summer. I know that you argue that teaching is a "part-time" job. Well, I didn't choose my job because I had to work less. Believe it or not, some of us chose this career because we want to make a difference in childrens lives. Do I have days off that others don't? Yes. Do I have the summer off? Yes, but I choose to work in my classroom. I probably do not put in 40 hours a week during the summer in the classroom but if you averaged my hours throughout the year I am CERTAIN that I am working more than a full time employee. I put in my own money for school projects and activities. I put in my own money when parents can't for special things like field trips. I am just so tired of the teacher bashing on here. I can honestly say that I know very few teachers that have no concern for their students and who decided to teach for the summers off. My job is great. Not because I work "part-time". My job is great because I get to spend each and every day with children. My job is great because I have the opportunity to watch children learn and to get excited about the new learning. It is just really disheartening to read most of these blogs because they are so negative. I am not sure that any problems get solved with negativity. Take that energy and make changes.

SCATS said...

To 11:29PM ~~ The change I choose to make is to help ensure that more of the truth reaches more of the residents and taxpayers. Greece excels at sweeping problems under the carpet. The district is dysfunctional and dysfunctional systems love to control communications, people, events.

Anonymous said...

How is that helping? I am just really curious. I respect that you care, if you didn't you wouldn't put the time and energy into this. I do agree with you that there are problems. That is quite obvious and has been for as long as I have known. So... what do we do to change it? Do we complain about it on blogs? Do we ignore it? I am not sure of the answer here but I think that is definitely the question that we all need to be asking ourselves. Who is to blame???? The community? They can't all be wrong. The teachers??? They can't all be bad. The students? abolutely not! The BOE? The people in District Office? I don't know the answers here. I am someone who wants a solution as I am sure that many of us do. What is the solution here? Does anyone really know?

SCATS said...

To 11:52PM ~~ It helps by educating people. It helps by getting more of the problems, issues, etc. out into the open so they can be dealt with. It helps by making the media a bit more accountable and tuned into the fact that Greece is more than what the Chamber of Commerce line of the month claims. It helps by bringing balance which is needed to start to make this place more functional.

What are YOU doing?

Anonymous said...

"Sooner or later the problems will creep into....et al: I don't think so. The "lottery" system seems to prevent minorities and free lunch students from getting into those "better" schools (based on the demograpic data for those schools). Also the district makes no attempt to reach parents that do not speak english or do not read at a level that would permit them to understand their options. None of that is the student's fault but it does biasis that lottery system. Also they classify one of those elementary "minority" schools as a math and science school but historically it has had the worst performances in the distirct for those subjects. I suspect the vast majority of the parents at the school do not understand that. Maybe it is clear that parents that do get their children into Pinebrook (for example) are not exactly color blind!

Bussing is just one of the probems associated with the current system!

Anonymous said...

11;52
Wouldnot it be nice if your union took as much interest as you do.
It is YOUR union that wants no accountability and wants to ignore any and all problems.
As one ex board member said "this contract is soooo bad you don't even have to come to work to get a raise" and YOUR union (which represents YOU) says and does nothing.

Anonymous said...

I know what the teacher writing here has done to help..... He/she has marched and picked with their fellow GTA members hoping to raise awareness about the plight of the under privleged. He/she has told their union to stop focusing on money and benefits for teachers, and to start focusing on student behavior so that good kids can learn.

Wait, none of this has happened has it? The fact of the matter, at least in my opinion, is that without a blog like this that meeting/forum last night doesn't even happen, and the sheeple just go through life in the dark. Also, while I respect the fact that you chose to teach for the "right" reasons, your contention that you work the equivelent of a full time job is laughable and hurts your credibilty.

Anonymous said...

According to the D&C, there was "overwhelming" support for choice in the district.

Channel 10 reports: "Overwhelming support for right to choose schools in Greece."

Looks like the BOE has found the data they need. Now they can say that they looked at the options and the community supports them.

SCATS said...

To 2:55AM ~~ If you don't think it's possible then by all means keep your head in the sand awhile longer. The figures for the numbers of students receiving free/reduced lunches spiked from 17% in 2002 to 39% currently, if I heard those figures correctly (I can't find the video on the news site where O'Rourke was interviewed about this yesterday). If our district continues to draw people seeking to flee the city, and everything I've seen seems to indicate that is the case, then it's only a matter of time before the lottery schools will become like the other schools, or there will be a huge discrimination suit causing the district to change the system to open up their enrollments. The lottery is becoming a pressure-cooker with no relief valve under the current lottery & sibling rule system.

SCATS said...

To 6:58 & 7:12AM ~~ I do give this teacher credit for coming forward with some rational dialog, even if it isn't in the open. The first step can often be the hardest one to take ;) He/she does impress me as someone who is a teacher for the right reasons, something that I don't take for granted these days.

SCATS said...

To 9:15AM ~~ Apparently, they got certain reporters to fill up on the district Kool-aid before they wrote those stories! If you saw any of the videos of this phony forum, then you know that few attended aside from the committee & district officials.

Anonymous said...

To be in the lottery, you have to apply. I'd like to see the stats on the number of minority families and reduced lunch families that do apply, and see if the percentage chosen is in line with the percentage that apply. The families that I know that do not apply (and the vast majority of families do NOT apply) did not because:

1. They want to go to their neighborhood school.
2. They don't think their child will want to be in what is perceived to be a more pressure-to-succeed environment. I've actually had a parent tell me "Odyssey is for brainiacs. My kid would flunk out."
3. They want more options like more science and language electives. And football.
4. They don't know or don't understand the process.
5, They don't give a darn.

These are based on real conversations with dozens of parents.

SCATS said...

To 12:57PM ~~ I'd like to see those & lots of other stats too. Don't hold your breath that we'll ever be given any real insight into the stats on schools-of-choice. District office would probably get sued multiple times if that info were available.

FYI, even if you talked to a dozen dozen (12 x 12) people, it's only 144 out of a district with 12,200+ students. I'm aware of people who say things like they don't want to leave their neighborhood school, too. But guess what? That response is often the face-saving response given by people who got very high numbers (low odds) in the lottery ;)

Anonymous said...

12:57, Let's first make clear that NOTHING you wrote supports the idea that this system is educationally beneficial to all or any of the district kids. Likewise, there is NOTHING in your post that supports spending $1,000,000+ a year to keep the system in place. I'm not saying that you intended to prove otherwise, just making that clear.

Now in regard to what you did write... sorry, but it's all BS. Not that you haven't really had these conversations, that's not for me to say. The BS is anyone that claims (or seems to) that a system is being conducted without racial or economical bias, but can't tell me when and where I can see the "lottery" drawing. I can show you hard demographic facts showing that our 3 "lottery" schools have the lowest number of free/reduced meals & minority students. You can show me...conversations you've had??? Are you serious??? Talk about bringing a knife to a gun fight, a dull one at that. If this system MUST remain in place, why isn't EVERY kid put into the (behind closed door) "lottery", giving them the option to refuse there acceptance. You know, because the district values diversity sooo much!

PS- Not for nothing, but the one comment that you made which actually made me briefly laugh out loud was the Odyssey football comment. I guess because I was promised that this school's students would forfeit the opportunity for sports, once upon a time. Oh yeah, that was back when attendance indicated a need for all these $chool$

The system CAN NOT BE DEFENDED, period!

Anonymous said...

Hey 7:20

I never said I was defending the system. But we don't know the facts. The number and demographics of families putting in for the lottery is not public, so any claim of discrimination can't be proven - or disproven. That was my point. Let's see the numbers.

And, believe it or not, there are indeed families not interested in SOCs for the reasons stated, including kids that want to play football.

SCATS said...

To 10:31PM ~~ It's good that you weren't "defending the system." Since it costs more & has ZERO EDUCATIONAL BENEFIT, there is NO PLACE IN THIS ECONOMY TO CONTINUE SCHOOLS-OF-CHOICE. It really is that simple.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 10:31pm, this system is bad and needs to go.

Anonymous said...

Hey 10:31- I think what the other person is trying to tell you is the fact that none of this stuff (the lottery, the numbers, ect.) is made public speaks volumes about the legitamacy of the whole system. Is it concrete proof? No. But it's all the proof that anyone who's lived in and paid attention in this town needs. Ask your BOE members with school aged kids how many of there kids attend their neighborhood school. Ask THE BLOB how he got his kid from 41 on a waiting list to Pine Brook, to being accepted with just a phone call to Walts. You and I already know it's corrupt, so why would you think any different in regard to keeping out the underprivleged or eople of color?

Anonymous said...

Is having one of the top ranked high schools a benefit? Not just for the kids but also for the community as a whole? I would say "yes", but at what cost?

Still, I think it would be a PR nightmare to mess with a school that's outperforming almost every school in the area. Even if the system is rigged, the perception is going to be another screw up by Greece. Bad schools, bad police, bad malls, hookers...so property values go down and down as people move away or don't want to move in.

SCATS said...

To 3:27PM ~~ A PR nightmare? Are you kidding me! Compared to what Greece has already been through, I don't think anyone not associated with the schools-of-choice would bat an eyelash. The fact that you can say "even if the system is rigged" ... just shows me that this needs to be done ASAP. In case you don't know it already, property values are artificially high in Greece to cover for the multitudes of lawsuits & other corruption people with similar mindsets allow to happen. At the same time, homes are NOT often selling at or above their assessed value. Just compare the recorded sale prices as shown in the D&C each week to what the house is assessed for according to County Clerk records. Now THAT'S SCANDALOUS ;)

Anonymous said...

3:27, I wish that I could put into words what an absolute TOOL you sound like when you say things like that. Has it ever occurred to you that when a school is allowed to hand pick it's student body the results are going to be better. Frankly, I could better argue that Odyssey's results are disappointing, when compared to other PRIVATE schools. J***-*FF!

Anonymous said...

Hey 7:06 why so angry? Take your meds. Messing with Odyssey would be a classic case of cutting off one's nose to spite one's face. Like it or not, it is the one positive recognition that Greece is getting in the area of Education. I work in secondary education and the school has a great rep at colleges all over the northeast. So yeah, by all means lets close down a nationally ranked school out of spite.

Dope.

SCATS said...

To 3:03PM ~~ Let's close it down because:
1 ~ It costs more.
2 ~ It's enrollment was selected using procedures Hitler would be proud of.
3 ~ It has proven to be of NO EDUCATIONAL BENEFIT TO THE DISTRICT AS A WHOLE!
4 ~ Any one of the above is reason enough ;)

PS ~~ Resorting to name-calling shows the true colors of the folks who support this school for their "special children." The person before you stopped short of your tactic.

Anonymous said...

True story 3:03, given the "logic" you expressed here, there was never a doubt in my mind that you worked in education. Sad but true. Explain to us again why my kid at a neighborhood school should have a greater ratio of kids not wanting to learn, so that your special kid can go to their lottery school.... On my dime! LOL, yeah I'm the dope.

Anonymous said...

Let's see, a district that can't support itself has an system that rewards a select (very) few by giving them an educational advantage that a (huge) majority of others will not get. This is being done at an (reported) annual cost of a million dollars a year, which is paid mostly by the same majority whose kids receive the benefit. Oh yes, and the selection for this school takes place far from the public eye and has many times been proven comical, as certain families have been able to get around the aforementioned selection process. You all need to lighten up, this system is great cuz da kids in da special school get da goood grades!


Yours Truly,

Someone Working In Secondary Education

Anonymous said...

4:49 If you carefully read my comments, I am not saying I support the system in place. My point is that it is too late to do anything about it without looking more like a clown town than we already do. Shutting down one of the top high schools in the state, while may be the fairest option, would cause more harm than good. Instead, the district should publish the numbers on what percentage of families actually apply for the lottery and how that compares to the demographics of those selected. I have heard wildly different numbers on how many are on the waiting list for Odyssey, for example. It also varies by grade. Sixth and ninth grade obviously have longer lists than say 11th grade. There was no waiting list for Long Ridge - they had to advertise to get kids to come! For all we know this is a tempest in a teapot and there are few, if any, people really getting shut out. SOCs may very well appeal to only a small percentage of the district and serve their purpose to keep us from redistricting. We don't know - there's a lot of assuming going on and you know what that means.

SCATS said...

To 11:14PM ~~ It's difficult to take anything you wrote seriously! Since when has Longridge School's status been questioned? Never as far as I'm aware! You completely failed to mention the penultimate elephant in the living room: PINE BROOK!! Don Nadolinski told the BOE during a meeting some months ago that the wait list for that school alone was larger than the number who attend it! It's been that way since they opened their doors! With the sibling rule in place, it's sure to continue. So instead of trying to divert attention to a bogus argument related to Odyssey's supposed desirability/performance, let's deal with the biggest fish to fry: PINEBROOK!

We will continue with our "clown town" status as long as the taxpayers continue to get reamed by the select few. Everyone knows it, too.

Anonymous said...

I know that I am going to be persecuted here for saying what I'm about to say, but I'll do so and show myself the door. I am the proud parent of two children who presently attend Odyssey. I have been totally pleased with the experience at the school to date and my children are thriving. That said, I admit that the way this school is filled and perhaps even it's existence is a slap in the face to taxpayers as a whole. To be honest, I feel I can admit this now as my children have just about finished their time at the school. Like some others here, I also used to defend the way the Greece went about selecting children there, as well as Pine Brook, yes we got them there years ago as well. Knowing now what I refused to acknowledge then, I was looking out for my family first, pure and simple. I do not necessarily apologize for that either, but denying it would be dishonest. I’ve seen the discussion of the racial make-up of Greece’s different schools here and elsewhere, and it’s more than a valid issue. My son plays an unmentioned sport at Odyssey. Following a game against another Greece school years ago, he actually mentioned that he had no idea so many black people lived in Greece. I was floored, but the statement made me think. Now when I see the statistics about how the schools breakdown, frankly I’m embarrassed I ever defended it. I’m not intending to come across as something I’m not here, but just thought I would share the thoughts. It’s a great school, as was Pine Brook, but I admit it’s that way for a reason. The people who try to praise the school because they have developed "a new system of learning" or figured out "how to reach our kids" are not being honest with themselves, or anyone else. Odyssey has done one thing right above all else in my opinion: It’s gotten rid of the distractive kids for the most part. Those who believe that classroom distractions don’t go hand in hand with the economic demographics or in some cases the racial demographics of a student body have been living under a rock. I also realize that’s really not a credit to the school so much, as it is the system. I see the few writers on this blog who attempt to defend Odyssey and the other lottery schools, and I’m reminded of myself years ago. My advice to them would be to try to get the best for your children, but be cautious in vocalizing your support for what’s in place. With the enrollment in Greece as low as it is today, this method of filling schools is more that obsolete. Just one person’s thoughts.